Turkish authorities granted permission to German consular officers to visit German-Turkish journalist Meşale Tolu, who has been under arrest in pre-trial detention since April 30 over charges of disseminating the propaganda of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
According to a story in Deutsche Welle (DW) on Monday, German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Martin Schaefer said after a series of discussions with Turkish authorities, a visit by German officials to Tolu has been permitted.
“We have received this information by phone but are still awaiting written confirmation,” he added. Diplomats will be able to visit Tolu on June 2, Schaefer said.
German-Turkish relations have become strained in recent months after Ankara denied German parliamentarians permission to visit German soldiers serving at İncirlik Airbase in the coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as well as the detention of Tolu and fellow journalist Deniz Yücel on similar charges.
Yücel had previously received consular visits, but requests to visit Tolu had been repeatedly denied.
Meanwhile, French photojournalist Mathias Depardon, who was detained on May 8 after photographing the local scenery in Turkey’s southeastern Batman province and went on a hunger strike on May 21 while waiting for his deportation from Turkey, ended his protest on May 27 after meeting with a French Embassy official, according to a statement from Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire announced the news from his Twitter account on Saturday, writing: “Detained in Turkey, the French photographer stopped his hunger strike after he learned that a visit by a diplomat would be allowed.”
Depardon, who was accused of disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on social media, was released by a Turkish court earlier in May.
Following the court decision Depardon was taken to the Gaziantep Immigration Authority in the Oğuzeli district of Gaziantep province for deportation. However, the journalist has been waiting for his deportation there for more than 20 days.
According to Deloire, diplomat Christophe Hemmings from the French Embassy in Ankara paid an hour-long visit to Depardon.
Deloire said the French journalist is reportedly well taken care of and that his case will be handled at the highest level.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who met with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels on May 25, requested an assessment of the situation of the French journalist in Turkey.
Depardon is an İstanbul-based documentary freelance photographer and frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal and Le Monde.
Pressure on foreign journalists in Turkey has been mounting in recent years, with the government, pro-government journalists and government trolls on social media directly targeting them.
Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of May 27, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 241 are arrested pending trial, only 23 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) May 29, 2017